For Dr Hafsa Banu, a practising dentist at White Smile Dental Clinic, in Qurm, life is all about overlapping art in everything she does, whether at work or at home. Being a cosmetic dentist, precision and perfection is the hallmark of her everyday task and it stems from her inert talent for art.
Excelling in ‘nail and string’ art, Dr Hafsa has created many portraits, landscapes as well as abstract art using this unique technique which she taught herself. Many of her art works have done the rounds of joint exhibitions in the region and beyond as well as won her awards and accolades over the years.
Dr Hafsa has not only adorned her clinic walls with unique pieces of her art but also reserved a section of her workplace to store her creations as she spends a greater part of each day at the clinic and it is here that many great ideas have dawned on her. She strikes a perfect balance between managing her patients at the clinic and her kids at home and yet manages to use all her extra time in between in letting her creativity take wing.
Recently, she created a portrait of Bob Marley, a Jamaican singer-songwriter, using nail and string art and it has been well received at many exhibitions. In fact it was Marley’s popular quotes and approach to life which had inspired her to create his portrait.
“For me, words touch me a lot and Bob Marley’s quotes about life had a great impact on me. So I created a portrait of Marley and it was sent to a virtual exhibition called Canada Life Space and Time where it received a special admission award. I also sent it for American Art Awards where it received a second place as a tie and was well recognised. I also got a gallery rating from them which is commendable because the jury comprise representatives of 25 best art galleries in America,” she said, adding that the same artwork had been entered in a few more exhibitions.
Beginning her nail and string portraits with one of the Late HM, Sultan Qaboos bin Said, which was prepared for the 48th National Day of Oman, she later made portraits of many international celebrities including Mother Teresa, Frida Kahlo, Bob Marley, Princess Diana, Bruce Lee, Audrey Hepburn, Michael Jackson, Charlie Chaplin and Mohammed Ali.
“From childhood, I was a very shy and reserved person. So for me to open up and become social doesn’t come easily. So, I find my space usually with art. Art helps me to let go of myself and unwind. Being a dentist and a mother, I am always busy but art provides me with a peace corner to unwind,” she said, asserting, “It’s all about effective time management.”
Dr Hafsa’s involvement in art has also influenced her two children who have also started painting and sketching at a very young age. She has also inspired her mother as well as mother-in-law, too, who keep experimenting with art in their own small way and consulting her for tips from time to time. She believes art brings in true fulfillment and she still has many new ideas which she hopes to unravel, one by one, in the years ahead.
This painting representing the Hippocratic Oath taken by medical professionals, in the backdrop of the COVID-19 pandemic, won the first prize in an international competition on the theme ‘Heal the World’.
This painting of the Jamaican singer has been part of four exhibitions in UAE, Canada, American Art Awards and ‘Artadontics’ in Mumbai. It occupies a prominent place in her clinic as well as in her illustrious journey of art.
This sculpture (a competition entry last year) was designed in the form of an installation for roundabouts. It represents the culture of Oman and the progressive harmony between four generations shown in the form of entwined hands.
This abstract artwork, with a nail and string maze in the centre, has a contemporary, minimalistic approach to provoke thought. It is an entry for UK’s ‘Virtual Artist 2020’, in January 2021, and will be displayed at Matti’s Gallery in Oman for Christmas.